#10 Pepperdine Wins Third Straight with 3-1 Triumph Over #5 Long Beach State
Jan. 14, 2012
MALIBU, Calif. - Double-digit kill performances from Josh Taylor, Chase Ross and Maurice Torres, paired with a sound defensive team effort, lifted the #10 Pepperdine men's volleyball team to a 3-1 win over #5 Long Beach State on Saturday night inside Firestone Fieldhouse. The victory brings the Waves to their first 2-0 start in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play since the 2009 season.
Set scores for the match were 25-22, 14-25, 26-24 and 26-24.
Pepperdine (3-1, 2-0 MPSF) out-blocked the 49ers (2-3, 0-2 MPSF) by nearly a 2-1 margin, posting 16 rejections compared to the visitor's 8.5. Middle blockers Matt Pollock (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg HS) and Nikola Antonijevic (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Stevenson HS) tallied seven blocks apiece, while freshman setter Matt West (Seattle, Wash./Shorewood HS) followed with six.
Additionally, West paced the Waves with 10 digs while handing out 49 assists.
Taylor (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School) led all hitters with 17 kills. On the defensive end, the freshman outside hitter collected eight digs. Torres (Riverside, Calif./Orange Lutheran HS) finished the night with 16 kills, eight digs and five blocks, while Ross (Carlsbad, Calif./Carlsbad HS) delivered 12 kills on a .345 attack percentage.
Taylor Crabb led LBSU with 15 kills and 14 digs for the double-double.
Pepperdine commanded an early lead in the opening set, sprinting out to a 5-1 lead. Although Long Beach State was able to climb back and cut the lead to one at 17-16, the Waves never relinquished the advantage. Taylor was nearly unstoppable, pounding down eight kills, while Pollock kept the 49ers' offense at bay with three blocks to put the 25-22 set in the books.
The Waves faltered in set two, and were unable to gather any offensive momentum. Hitting for a .481 clip, LBSU easily evened the score with a 25-14 win.
Tied at one set all, both teams fought tooth and nail for every point in the pivotal third frame. Long Beach State was able to build a three-point lead at 13-10 that appeared would hold for the duration of the stanza. However, the Waves erased the lead with a 4-1 run to tie the set at 21. A kill from Taylor put the lead back in the home teams' favor and forced the 49ers to call their second timeout of the set.
The timeout proved to be beneficial, as a service error out of the break would give LBSU the side out. A Taylor put away followed by a tandem block from Antonijevic and West would give Pepperdine two set points, but LBSU was able to knot the score at 24. Taylor would once again give his team set point with a kill, and Antonijevic teamed up with Torres this time to stop the attack at the net with a block to put the score at 26-24.
The Waves' defense proved to be the difference maker in the set, as the home team tallied seven blocks - led by three apiece from West and Antonijevic - compared to just one rejection from the 49ers. Offensively, Ross paced Pepperdine with an errorless 5-for-10 effort on the attack.
The fourth set mirrored the third, as the lead was exchanged five times and tied on 13 occasions. Although the set played out even down to the very end, the Pepperdine block came up big in the crucial moments to give the Waves the win. Down 23-24, West returned an overpass back to the Long Beach State side of the net for the kill, followed by a block by Torres and Antonijevic to give Pepperdine match point. Torres promptly nailed down a kill, his eighth of the set, to clinch the win for the Waves.
Freshman Matt Tarantino (Van Nuys, Calif./Bishop Alemany HS) saw action for the first time this season, and posted his first collegiate kill.
The Waves conclude their six-match home swing with a pair of matches versus Hawaii on Jan. 20 and 21. The first match on the 20th is slated to begin at 7 p.m., while the follow up contest on the 21st begins at 8 p.m. Prior to the match, the Pepperdine men's basketball team takes on BYU inside Firestone Fieldhouse at 5 p.m.